Assessing The War Damage

ABC establishes air supremacy, but the future of network news is fuzzier than ever

The anchormen have come home. Star correspondents Arthur Kent and Bob McKeown are eagerly anticipating their next contract negotiations. Even for David Letterman, the end of the war brought a sense of relief. "Finally," he said, "we can go back to ignoring CNN."

Well, some of us can. For the three broadcast networks, the repercussions of the gulf war will not be shaken off so easily. Their coverage from the Persian Gulf won big audiences and, for the most part, critical acclaim. But it cost a bundle: nearly $50 million at NBC alone, including the loss of revenues from squeamish advertisers....

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